Foodstuff: Canary Melon

canary-melon-1

For as long as I can remember, the type of melons routinely available in my local stores have been Cantaloupe, Honeydew, and Watermelon, with other varieties only sporadically appearing (and then only just briefly). Just recently, I saw plastic covered trays of sliced melon at my supermarket and I assumed they were Honeydew until I saw the label, which identified them as ‘Canary Melon’ slices. It was only then that I looked around and saw the fruit you see pictured above.  The sticker on each fruit specified ‘Juan Canary’ and I took this to be a brand name until I learned that it is simply an alternate appellation… I gather you can call them just ‘Canaries’, or else ‘Juan Canaries’, if you want (assuming, I suppose, you have been properly introduced first).

Anyway, the fruits are cultivated in Korea, Japan, Morocco and, Mexico, and I gather that they are related to both the Honeydew and the Winter Melon, which is used extensively in Chinese cookery. The flesh looks superficially like Honeydew but it has a softer texture, a little bit like a pear. The aroma, even before slicing is very sweet and pleasant and it actually made my whole kitchen smell wonderful in the twelve hours or so it was sitting on the counter.

When I finally did cut in to it, there was a considerable amount of juice and the taste was every bit as sweet as the smell. It was, I have to say, most reminiscent of Honeydew, but there was also a very noticeable additional component that is a little hard to describe. It was a finishing note that had a somewhat flowery, aromatic quality to it… something like the acetone-sweetness you get with bananas ripening in a bag. There was also a faint woody highlight in places (again aromatic, like cedar), and the whole effect was very nice indeed. I prefer the texture of cantaloupe and honeydew, to be honest, but this variety makes for a pleasant change.

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